The Dutch biotech argenx has cashed in on recent positive phase III results by launching an enormous €784.7M ($862.5M) global share offering.
Argenx’s fundraise swiftly follows the announcement of phase III trial results earlier this week, where its lead candidate antibody drug, efgartigimod, improved motor symptoms of patients with the chronic autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis.
Argenx is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and Euronext Brussels. With its stock price rising this week by more than 30% on these markets thanks to the trial results, argenx seems to have struck while the iron was hot.
The company will use part of the cash to fund the final push to commercialize efgartigimod, with argenx planning a commercial launch of the drug for the treatment of myasthenia gravis in 2021.
Alongside myasthenia gravis, Joke Comijn, argenx’s Director of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, told me that the company will run clinical trials of its lead candidate in other indications such as primary immune thrombocytopenia. It will also develop other drugs on its pipeline such as a phase II-stage antibody drug for cancer.
“We have an ambitious business plan,” Comijn said. “By the end of the year, we will be running four phase III trials.”
This public fundraise dwarfs others in the European biotech scene this year so far. Some of the closest include a €378M rights issue by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic in March, and the €133M raised by the Swedish biotech Oncopeptides this month. Argenx’s latest winnings also tower over the €502M that it gathered last year in a similar offering.
Four of the biggest public fundraises in European biotech in 2020 so far. Data taken from company press releases.
After record-breaking highs in biotech funding last year, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has done little to discourage big fundraises in established European biotechs on the public market. However, public markets will likely continue to be volatile, including for biotech companies, and we might expect an eventual downturn as the crisis continues to lock down countries worldwide.
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